4/24/2019

What is Restoration? The Social and Political Condition of Restoration period.


Literally the term, 'restoration' means the act or process of returning something to its earlier good condition or position. But in English history, the Restoration is the re-establishment of the monarchy in 1660. In the history of English literature, the time-span from 1660 to 1702 is called the Restoration Period. In this period, the monarchism was restored. With the restoration of monarchism, the English literary tradition was also restored. The period is also known as the Age of Dryden. John Dryden was the chief exponent and poet at that time. He led the then English literature. However, the social and political condition of the Restoration Age was full of unrest and chaotic situation.

Restoration of RoyalismThe date 1660 is one of the most significant dates in the history of English literature. It was equally important in the history of English politics. In the Commonwealth Period, Charles-Il escaped to France. He was the son of Charles-I After the fall of Commonwealth, the people of England brought him back. They made him king of England on May 29, 1660. With his accession to the throne of England, royalism was restored. Thus Charles-II came to the power of England in 1660. He remained in power till his death in 1685. After his death, James-II ascended the throne. James-Il was
the another son of Charles-I. He was a Catholic. But most of the people were Protestants. They wanted to dethrone him. In 1688, there was the Glorious Revolution against him. The revolution was also known to be the Bloodless Revolution. James-II fled to France. William-III of France was his son-in-law and Mary was his daughter.  They came to power of England in 1688. William ruled England till his death in 1702. With his death, Restoration Period ended.

Back of Charles iiA great change came in the social and political life of English people with the coming of Charles-II back to England. In every way, the Restoration Age heralded the birth of a new age. From 1660 onwards, the era of ambition and juvenile errors was closed. A new society and new literature began in 1660. The social life, manners and literary traditions underwent a process of transformation. A clear change was noticed between the Restoration and the Renaissance.

Break of Puritanism The reaction against the Puritanism was one of the marked changes in the social life of the Restoration Period. The atmosphere of gaiety and cheerfulness was restored. The theatres were re-opened. The morals of the people were entirely changed. The virtues of defeated Puritanism did much to modify the reaction against the vices of the Puritan in power. There was a great reaction against the stern morality of the Puritans. Charles-II was himself dissolute and elfish. His court was surrounded with men and women who rivaled in these qualities. A court was organised in which preferments and positions were distributed as the master desired. Licentiousness
gained the upper hand. Morality was on the wane and everywhere there was levity in life. With the collapse of the Puritan government, here sprang activity that had so long been suppressed. The Commonwealth had insisted on gravity and decorum in all things. The Restoration encouraged the activity that often became immoral and indecent.

Dispute between Whigs and Tories In the field of politics, there were signs of strife between the Whigs and the Tories. Political disputes began to grow apace. There were people who supported the king. But the others stood in the way of monarchic powers and peculiar privileges. Thus during the
Restoration Period, politics gained the upper hand. The largely concerned with politics which reflected its influence in literature of the age. In politics, it showed itself interested in actual conditions as supposed to dreams of theocracy. In all directions, it appeared as a disposition towards conservatism and moderation. Men had learnt to fear individual enthusiasm. Therefore, they tried to discourage it by setting up ideals of conduct in accordance with reason and commonsense.

Rapid Development of Science During the Restoration Period, there was a rapid development of science. The establishment of the Royal Society was a landmark in the history of England. The interest in science began to grow. In science, it showed itself in an absorption and details of investigation as opposed to the theoretical considerations of Bacon.

France DominanceThe influence of France was predominant during the Restoration Age. King Charles-II himself had lived in France for a number of years. The French influence spread from the court and the fashionable circle of the most cultivated classes in the provinces. It left its strong marks upon fashion and manners of the superficial side of life. It even penetrated into modes of feeling and thinking. It also
penetrated through the language  and the authority of precepts as well aesthetic examples. It was fashioned or rather taught and encouraged certain habits and preferences of taste. As a result, culture began to spread to lower levels of national life.

Thus we find that the Restoration Age is socially and politically remarkable. A general reaction against Puritanical restraints became
very strong. Two political parties were formed. They were Whig and the Tory. The Whigs were against the king and for the Protestants. The Tories supported the king and for the Catholics. In 1690, there was Jacobite Rising. The Catholics of Ireland fought against William's soldiers and were defeated. They were led by James-II. In 1662, the Royal Society was founded to promote scientific research. Sir Isaac Newton was a member of it. Industrialisation began in England. In 1695, the press was made free. Everyone was given to express his or her views. The Bill of Rights was adopted in 1689. It restricted monarch's power and enhanced parliament's power.

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